A former Rochester police officer and Webster restaurateur arrested this year on tax fraud charges has filed a bankruptcy petition stating more than $1 million in debt.
In a Chapter 7 petition filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court here March 11, James Hall states debts of $1.4 million against $1.3 million in assets.
Hall, who ran the Union Hill Country Grill on Ridge Road in Webster, was arraigned in Webster Town Court in January and charged with felony counts of fraud and grand larceny. The case currently awaits action by a grand jury.
State tax officials accused Hall of failing to report $2.3 million in sales and consequently failing to pay $250,000 in sales tax. If convicted, Hall could face up to five years in prison on each of the felony counts. He also is accused of 10 counts of filing a false instrument, a lesser felony charge.
The Union Hill Country Grill shut down several months before Hall's arrest. He had run the restaurant since 1995.
In the bankruptcy petition, Hall, 46, says he is retired and declares a $39,420 annual state pension as his sole source of income. The filing lists two 401(k) retirement accounts totaling $135,000 among the assets Hall seeks to retain.
In a statement released at the time of Hall's arrest, state tax officials said Hall stopped filing the restaurant's tax returns in 2008 and supplied five missing returns only after the tax authority demanded them.
In the bankruptcy filing, Hall acknowledges the tax debt, declaring the $250,000 in sales tax arrears as a component of his debt. Some $985,000 of his remaining $1 million in stated debt traces to mortgages on five Webster rental properties. Business debts account for $39,790 of the roughly $198,000 in unsecured debt Hall declared.
The rental properties, whose total value the bankruptcy filing puts at $703,000, account for slightly more than half of Hall's declared assets. In the petition, Hall states that he intends to surrender the rental properties to lenders. He seeks to retain ownership of his $690,000 home on Ontario Drive in Ontario, Wayne County.
The filing lists Erik Ruekmann as a co-owner and resident of the Ontario Drive home and as co-debtor on two loans totaling $611,000 that are secured by the Ontario Drive property.
An attorney handling Hall's bankruptcy filing, Bruce Lawrence of Boylan, Brown, Code, Vigdor and Wilson LLP, did not return calls.
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